"I Hear Music," from Nashville-based vocalist, pianist and arranger Diane Marino, is a twelve-track retrospective of selectionsfamous and not sodrawn from the Songbook, as well as being associated with such great artists as Dakota Staton, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, and others.
The opener, the rarely heard "I Hear Music," is Marino's fine upbeat take on an old Burton Lane & Frank Loesser tune from a forgetable pre-WWII film, "Dancing on a Dime" (Paramount Pictures, 1940). It is a great aural appetizer. "Moonray" has Marino diving into the '40s again with a song made famous by Artie Shaw and Helen Forrest. Marino is bluesy and biting here. It is a head-tilting groove with a fine Joel Frahm tenor ride and a slick Frank Marino bass solo. On "Ain't No Use"best known as recorded by Dakota Staton the vibes and B3 give a smoky nightclub feel and Marino shines. It is telling that she has paid her "listening dues." She is highly versatile groove-wise, with a vibrant voice which is more on the brighter side of the spectrum. Her lyric and rhythmic buoyancy demonstrates a playful spirit and lithe balletic ability. This is obvious on "The Late, Late Show" , the bossa "It Could Happen to You" (with a great vibes solo from Chuck Redd) and "You Showed Me the Way" where she is effervescent. There is a soulful Wycliffe Gordon solo there, as well.
Marino delivers two Benny Carter classics, an R'n'B-flavored "Rock Me to Sleep" on which the team generates hip, swinging "insomnia" and on "When Lights Are Low," taken up-tempo and featuring a great guitar solo from Pat Bergeson. Marino's ballad chops are azure-tinted on "Detour Ahead," and on an album highlight track, a lush synth strings- backed slow rendition of "I'll Close My Eyes." "You Better Love Me" is a straight-ahead showstopper where all drive that imperative hard. Les Shires delivers a fine trumpet solo there.
The ensemble supporting the vocalist is first class and involved. Sax man Joel Frahm offers a handful of tasty fills and solos (his "I'll Close My Eyes" solo is sublime). Marino's and Brad Cole's charts are refined, well-orchestrated, and frame everything nicely.
"I Hear Music" is an extremely honest album. Offering no jive and nothing superficial, it is all about the music. Although a studio session, there is also a sense that this is a live performance. The inclusion of selections from a classic period in vocal jazz, combined with Marino's ability to swim elegantly in all these various musical waters, makes for a most enjoyable listening experience.
I Hear Music, Moonray, Ain't No Use, Let Me Off Uptown, You Showed Me the Way, Rock Me
To Sleep, It Could Happen To You , Detour Ahead, The Late, Late Show, I'll Close My Eyes,
When Lights Are Low, You'd Better Love Me
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